PROSTITUTION AND SOLICITATION
Most people know that prostitution is legal in Nevada. However, what is not commonly understood is that prostitution is illegal in the state’s two larges counties, Clark (Las Vegas) and Washoe (Reno). Moreover, prostitution is a highly regulated industry in Nevada and not adhering to the requirements is a serious crime. Convictions for pandering are severe and jail time and harsh fines.
What is the legal definition of Prostitution and Solicitation?
Pandering is governed by NRS 201.295, 201.300, 201.305, 201.325, 201.345, 201.350, 201.351, 201.352.
NRS 201.295 – Definitions.
As used in NRS 201.295 to 201.440, inclusive, unless the context otherwise requires:
- “Adult” means a person 18 years of age or older.
- “Child” means a person less than 18 years of age.
- “Induce” means to persuade, encourage, inveigle or entice.
- “Prostitute” means a male or female person who for a fee, monetary consideration or other thing of value engages in sexual intercourse, oral-genital contact or any touching of the sexual organs or other intimate parts of a person for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of either person.
- “Prostitution” means engaging in sexual conduct with another person in return for a fee, monetary consideration or other thing of value.
- “Sexual conduct” means any of the acts enumerated in subsection 4.
- “Transports” means to transport or cause to be transported, by any means of conveyance, into, through or across this State, or to aid or assist in obtaining such transportation.
NRS 201.300 – Pandering and sex trafficking: Definitions; penalties; exception.
- A person who without physical force or the immediate threat of physical force, induces an adult to unlawfully become a prostitute or to continue to engage in prostitution, or to enter ay place within this State in which prostitution is practice, encouraged or allowed for the purpose of sexual conduct or prostitution is guilty of pandering which is a category C felony and shall be punished as provided in NRS 193.130. This subsection does not apply to the customer of a prostitute.
- A person:
- Is guilty of sex trafficking if the person:
- Induces, causes, recruits, harbors, transports, provides, obtains or maintains a child to engage in prostitution, or to enter any place within this State in which prostitution is practiced, encouraged or allowed for the purpose of sexual conduct or prostitution;
- Induce, recruits, harbors, transports, provides, obtains or maintains a person by any means, knowing, or in reckless disregard of the fact, that threats, violence, force, intimidation, fraud, duress or coercion will be used to cause the person to engage in prostitution, or to enter any place within this State in which prostitution is practiced, encouraged or allowed for the purpose of sexual conduct or prostitution;
- By threats, violence, force, intimidation, fraud, duress, coercion, by any device or scheme, or by abuse of any position or confidence or authority, or having legal charge, takes, places, harbors, induces, causes compels or procures a person to engage in prostitution, or to enter any place within this State in which prostitution is practiced, encouraged or allowed for the purpose of sexual conduct or prostitution; or
- Takes or detains a person with the intent to compel the person by force, violence, threats or duress to marry him or her or any other person.
- Who is found guilty of sex trafficking:
- An adult is guilty of a category B felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than 3 years and maximum term of not more than 10 years, and may be further punished by a fine of not more than $10,000.
- A child:
- If the child is less than 14 years of age when the offense is committed, is guilty of a category A felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for life with the possibility of parole, with eligibility for parole beginning when a minimum of 15 years has been served, and may be further punished by a fine of not more than $20,000.
- If the child is at least 14 years of age but less than 16 years of age when the offense is committed, is guilty of a category A felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for life with the possibility of parole beginning when a minimum of 10 years has been served, and may be further punished by a fine of not more than $10,000.
- If the child is at least 16 years of age but less than 18 years of age when the offense is committed, is guilty of a category A felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for life with the possibility of parole, with eligibility for parole beginning when a minimum of 5 years has been served, and may be further punished further by a fine of not more than $10,000.
- Is guilty of sex trafficking if the person:
- A court shall not grant probation to or suspend the sentence of a person convicted of sex trafficking a child pursuant to subsection 2.
- Consent of a victim of pandering or sex trafficking to an act of prostitution is not a defense to a prosecution for any of the acts prohibited by this section.
- In a prosecution for sex trafficking a child pursuant to subsection 2, it is not a defense that the defendant did not have knowledge of the victim’s age, nor is reasonable mistake of age a valid defense to a prosecution conducted pursuant to subsection 2.
NRS 201.305 – Prostitution subculture as admissible evidence for certain purposes.
In a prosecution for pandering or sex trafficking pursuant to NRS 201.300, expert testimony concerning:
- The prostitution subculture, including, without limitation, the effect of physical, emotional or mental abuse on the beliefs, behavior and perception of the alleged victim of the pandering or sex trafficking that is offered by the prosecution or defense is admissible for any relevant purpose, including, without limitation, to demonstrate:
- The dynamics of, and the manipulation and psychological control measures used in, the relationship between a prostitute and a person who engages in pandering or sex trafficking in violation of NRS 201.300; and
- The normal behavior and language used in the prostitution subculture.
- The effect of pandering or sex trafficking may not be offered against a defendant pursuant to subsection 1 to prove the occurrence of an act which forms the basis of a criminal charge against the defendant.
NRS 201.325 – Power of court to order restitution.
- In addition to any other penalty, the court may order a person convicted of a violation of any provision of NRS 201.300 or 201.320 to pay restitution to the victim as provided in subsection 2.
- Restitution ordered pursuant to this section may include, without limitation:
- The cost of medical and psychological treatment, including, without limitation, physical and occupational therapy and rehabilitation;
- The cost of transportation, temporary housing and child care;
- The return of property, the cost of repairing damaged property or the full value of the property if it is destroyed or damaged beyond repair;
- Expenses incurred by a victim in relocating away from the defendant or his or her associates, if the expenses are verified by law enforcement to be necessary for the personal safety of the victim;
- The cost of repatriation of the victim to his or her home country, if applicable; and
- Any and all other losses suffered by the victim as a result of the violation of any provision of NRS 201.300 or 201.320.
- The return of the victim to his or her home country or other absence of the victim from the jurisdiction does not prevent the victim from receiving restitution.
- As used in this section, “victim” means any person:
- Against whom a violation of any provision of NRS 201.300 or 201. 320 has been committed; or
- Who is the surviving child or such a person.
NRS 201.345 – Attorney General has concurrent jurisdiction with district attorneys.
- The attorney General has concurrent jurisdiction with the district attorneys of the counties in this State to prosecute any violation of NRS 201.300 or 201.320..
- When acting pursuant to this section, the Attorney General may commence an investigation and file a criminal action without leave of court and the Attorney General has exclusive charge of the conduct of the prosecution.
NRS 201.350 – Venue.
It shall not be a defense to a prosecution for any of the acts prohibited in NRS 201.300 or 201. 320 that any part of such act or acts shall have been committed outside this state, and the offense shall in such case be deemed and alleged to have been committed, and the offender tried and punished, in any county in which the prostitution was consummated, or any overt act in furtherance of the offense shall have been committed.
NRS 201.351 – Forfeiture of assets; temporary restraining order to preserve property subject to forfeiture; use of proceeds derived from forfeiture.
- All assets derived from or relating to any violation of NRS 201.300 or 201.320 are subject to forfeiture pursuant to NRS 179.121 and a proceeding for their forfeiture may be brought pursuant to NRS 179.1156 to 179.121, inclusive.
- In any proceeding for forfeiture brought pursuant to NRS 179.1156 to 179.121, inclusive, the plaintiff may apply for, and a court may issue without notice or hearing, a temporary restraining order to preserve property which would be subject to forfeiture pursuant to this section if:
- The forfeitable property is in the possession or control of the party against who the order will be entered; and
- The court determines that the nature of the property is such that it can be concealed, disposed of or placed beyond the jurisdiction of the court before a hearing on the matter.
- A temporary restraining order which is issued without notice may be issued for not more than 30 days and may be extended only for good cause or by consent. The court shall provide notice and hold a hearing on the matter before the order expires.
- Any proceeds derived from a forfeiture or property pursuant to this section and remaining after the distribution required by subsection 1 of NRS 179.1118 must be deposited with the county treasurer and distributed to programs for the prevention of child prostitution or for services to victims which are designated to receive such distributions by the district attorney of the county.
NRS 201.352 –Additional fine for certain violations.
- If a person is convicted of a violation of subsection 2 of NRS 201.300 or NRS 201.320, the victim of the violation is a child when the offense is committed and physical force or violence or the immediate threat of physical force or violence is used upon the child, the court may, in addition to the term of imprisonment prescribed by statute for the offense and any fine imposed pursuant to subsection 2, impose a fine of not more than $500,000.
- If a person is convicted of a violation of subsection 2 of NRS 201.300 or NRS 201.320, the victim of the offense is a child when the offense is committed and the offense also involves a conspiracy to commit a violation of subsection 2 of NRS 201.300 or NRS.320, the court may, in addition to the punishment prescribed by statute for the offense of a provision of subsection 2 of NRS 201.300 or NRS 201.320 and any fine imposed pursuant to subsection 1, impose a fine of not more than $500,000.
- The provisions of subsections 1 and 2 do not create a separate offense but provide an additional penalty for the primary offense, the imposition of which is contingent upon the finding of the prescribed fact.
That is a lot of information for something I’ve never heard of?
“Pandering” is more commonly called “pimping.” Which is why it carries such harsh penalties.
Okay, so what exactly is “pandering”?
There is a lot of information in the statutes relating to “pandering.” Simply put, “pandering” is encouraging, forcing, or otherwise arranging for someone else to engage in prostitution.
There are an almost unlimited number of ways that this can occur, not all of them requiring physical force. In fact, even if the other person intended to engage in prostitution, and you merely found them a customer, even though you did nothing to “force” the prostitution, you would still be guilty of pandering.
Some of the common ways that pandering occurs include:
- Physically forcing someone to become a prostitute through violence or threat of violence (whether toward the person or a family member);
- Transporting someone from one place to another with the intent that they engage in prostitution;
- Forcing someone into prostitution to repay debts that are owed (whether in a brothel or not);
- Forcing someone to get married using physical, psychological, financial or other forms of force or violence.
What are the possible penalties?
The Nevada Revised Statutes define “Pandering” as applying only to inducing an adult to engage in prostitution. All other forms of “pandering” are encompassed in the law as “sex trafficking”. For a detailed discussion of “sex trafficking” click here.
If the person engaging in prostitution was an adult, 18 years of age or older, and no physical force was used (or the threat of immediate physical force), then the crime will be charged as a category C felony, carrying:
- Between 1 and 5 years in a Nevada State Prison; and
- Possible fines up to $10,000.
Is that it? Is there anything else I should know?
Convictions for Pandering do not carry only the above-mentioned sentence. In fact, the court is allowed to punish you in other ways as well.
- Restitution – The court can order that a person convicted of “pandering” must also pay restitution including;
- Medical and psychological treatment;
- Physical therapy;
- Occupational therapy to assist the person in finding a job;
- Cost of transportation, temporary housing, and child care;
- The return of property, or the cost of repair or replacing damaged property;
- Expenses incurred by a victim in relocating, as long as the costs are verified by law enforcement to be necessary for the personal safety of the victim;
- Cost of repatriation to the victim’s home country; and
- Any and all other loss that the court deems necessary.
- Forfeiture of Assets – Any assets derived from pandering are subject to forfeiture. Law enforcement must first bring a motion for forfeiture. In any proceeding or hearing on such motion, law enforcement can seek a restraining order to prohibit the concealment or disposal of the assets. If the assets are ordered forfeited, they will be distributed first to the victim to pay all necessary and required fines and restitution, and will then be distributed to programs preventing child prostitution and assisting in the recovery of victims of prostitution.
Are there any Defenses?
Yes, of course there are. Generally speaking, the nature of pandering charges lend themselves to defenses based on lack of evidence or mistaken identity. Some of the possible defenses include:
- Lack of evidence – Because pandering is a crime based almost entirely on the word of the people involved, all of whom are either criminals or alleged criminals, prosecutors have a difficult time finding enough evidence, physical or not, to prove pandering charges. If there is not enough evidence for the prosecutor to meet the extremely high burden of “beyond a reasonable doubt,” you may be able to get the charges against you dropped or dismissed.
- Mistaken Identity – Somewhat related to lack of evidence, there are many situations where the person accused of pandering is not, in fact, the actual panderer. If you can show that your accuser is mistaken in identifying you, or that there is not enough evidence to show that you are the actual panderer, then the charges against you should be dropped or dismissed.
- Police Misconduct – Because of the nature of pandering charges, investigation is often difficult for officers. Some officers stoop to inappropriate means to find evidence against you. If you can show that your arrest, or any investigation into your conduct was done improperly, then the evidence obtained from the improper arrest or investigation will be thrown out as “fruit of the poisonous tree.”
What should I do if I’ve been charged with Pandering?
As with any crime, it is very important that you speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible so that you can discuss the specific circumstances as well as any defenses that may apply to your case.